coffee gluten

Dairy commonly triggers a gluten-like reaction. Surprisingly coffee can too. If symptoms don’t improve on a GF diet, these may be the culprits.

Gluten intolerance not as black-and-white as once thought

Testing for gluten-intolerance incomplete until now — New lab offers breakthrough

Gluten has been linked in the literature to 55 diseases so far, most of them autoimmune. The effect of gluten on brain and nervous tissue is significantly worse and more far-reaching than researchers realized. Yet thanks to poor lab testing and general misinformation many people continue to eat gluten, unaware it is harming them.

Fortunately a revolutionary breakthrough in gluten reactivity testing at Cyrex Labs, founded on years of leading immunological research, is now available to help determine whether this ubiquitous food is damaging your health.

Problems with standard tests for gluten intolerance

  • Standard blood tests for gluten intolerance have a less than 30 percent accuracy rate. Would you tolerate that accuracy rate for a cancer, heart disease, or even pregnancy test? Gluten has to have significantly destroyed the gut wall for blood testing to be effective, and for many people that isn’t the case…especially if the brain, heart, or some other part of the body is the main target of attack.
  • Current salivary tests produce false negatives due to the assessment of only one antibody of one wheat protein. Stool tests produce false negative and false positives due to specimen-interfering factors that alter the outcome of results.
  • Current tests only screen for one component of wheat. Yet people can react to a single protein in wheat, or a combination of many proteins, peptides, and enzymes associated with wheat. Cyrex Labs tests for twelve of the most antigenic (meaning most likely to provoke a reaction) pathogens associated with wheat.
  • Some people also have cross-reactivity to gluten. For instance, eating dairy can trigger a gluten-like immune response because the body sees them as one in the same.

Cyrex Labs hones in on the specifics of gluten intolerance

After many years of research and development Cyrex Labs in Arizona now offers thorough and comprehensive testing for gluten intolerance. Cyrex was founded by Aristo Vojdani, Ph.D., M.Sc., C.L.S., a leading researcher in the fields of autoimmune disease and neuroimmunology who has published more than 100 scientific papers.

Cyrex Labs offers four arrays, with a fifth to be introduced in spring of 2011:

Array 1:  Gluten Sensitivity Screen

A simple, affordable way to test for a general gluten sensitivity using saliva — great for preventative health if autoimmune issues run in the family

The saliva is the best way to detect a gluten sensitivity early, even before symptoms manifest. The gut has to be severely damaged in order for a blood test to be useful. Because it uses a saliva sample, this test is easy to use with children.

This is a great test for people who have a family history of autoimmune disease, even if they’re asymptomatic. Since so many autoimmune disease are triggered by gluten, this test shows the patient a gluten-free diet can prevent him or her from going down the same road as family members.

The Gluten Sensitivity Screen includes:

Total secretory IgA. Antibodies are used in testing to determine whether the immune system is reacting to something. Secretory IgA, a type of antibody, is manufactured in the mucosa of the gut lining. It’s job is to keep invading
pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria and food proteins from attaching to the gut lining. When the layer of mucosa that protects the lining of the digestive tract breaks down or becomes dysfunctional, total secretory IgA may be too low or too high. This means you could have too few or too many antibodies to test properly, even though you are gluten-intolerant. This marker screens for that.

Gliadin IgA + IgM antibodies. IgA antibodies are used to screen for gluten intolerance. However if IgA antibodies are low due to weak immunity, another type of antibody called IgM will be high. Screening for both gives a more accurate view of immune status and thus test results.

Transglutaminase IgA + IgM combined antibodies. Transglutaminase is an enzyme in the digestive tract targeted in an autoimmune attack triggered by gluten. If this marker comes back positive you know gluten is destroying gut tissue through an autoimmune attack.

Array 2:  Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen

A test that identifies how gluten is robbing you of gut health

Gluten causes inflammation in the gut, which eventually leads to intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut.” Leaky gut allows undigested food particles, bacteria, and other pathogens to escape into the bloodstream where they can trigger allergies, sensitivities, and inflammation in other parts of the body.

Several different mechanisms cause leaky gut:

  • Breakdown of cells
  • Loosening of the junctures of the gut lining
  • Bacterial infection

This test pinpoints which of these is causing leaky gut so your practitioner knows what to specifically target for faster and more efficient gut repair.

Array 3: Wheat/Gluten Proteome Sensitivity and Autoimmunity

More than one wheat protein can cause gluten-intolerance — Cyrex Labs tests for twelve

Being gluten-intolerant isn’t as black-and-white as once thought. Actually gluten is a misnomer, “gliadin” is the portion of wheat that triggers an immune response in people (since “gluten” is commonly used I will stick with that term). It also has been discovered wheat is made up of more than 100 different components that can cause a reaction, not just one.

Until now testing for gluten intolerance has only been against one of those components, alpha gliadin. Through extensive research Cyrex pinpointed the twelve components of wheat that most often provoke an immune response.

This new test greatly expands the parameters of gluten intolerance testing, catching those who may have previously tested negative because they don’t react to the alpha gliadin.

Opioid testing

Array 3 also tests whether gluten has a drug-like opiate effect on an individual. Some people have enzymes in their digestive tract that break gluten down into opioids that act like heroin or morphine. Embarking on a gluten-free diet can cause terrible withdrawal symptoms in these people. One practitioner tells of a patient whose withdrawal symptoms were so severe she went to the emergency room.

Another problem with opioids is they disrupt brain function by attaching to receptor sites normally meant for neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that help dictate our personality, moods, behavior, bodily function, and more.

This opioid effect on neurotransmitter receptors explains why gluten plays a role in so many cases of ADD/ADHD, autism, or behavioral problems in children; or brain fog, depression, anxiety, and migraines in adults. When one mother put her autistic son on a gluten-free diet, he began eating the binding out of books as he was so desperate for his gluten-opioid “fix.”

Array 3 screens for antibodies to the opioids, which signals their presence in the brain.

Array 4:  Gluten-Associated Sensitivity and Cross-Reactive Foods

Twenty-four foods that cross-react with gluten or are newly introduced to a gluten-free diet

One of the most frustrating scenarios for both the practitioner and the patient is when a gluten-free diet fails to have any effect on a person who seems so clearly gluten-intolerant. Newer research shows this may be due to cross-reactivity.

In cross-reactivity the body mistakes another food for gluten and reacts accordingly. Array 4 tests for 24 different foods that may be causing cross-reactivity.


Cross-reactivity is common with dairy as its structure so closely resembles that of gluten. In fact 50 percent of people who are sensitive to gluten are also sensitive to dairy.

Coffee is surprisingly cross-reactive with gluten

However Cyrex researchers were surprised to find instant coffee has the highest rate of cross-reaction with gluten. In other words, some people’s immune system mistakes instant coffee for gluten, triggering a reaction. This test informs people whether one needs to give up instant coffee to prevent gluten cross-reactivity.

Amaranth and quinoa

Array 4 also tests for foods that many people eat for the first time on a gluten-free diet, such as amaranth or quinoa. Never having been exposed to these foods could trigger the immune to respond as if these grains were foreign intruders, especially in the case of a leaky and inflamed gut.

This panel has great clinical significance as it explains why people still react even after giving up gluten and even dairy.

Array 5

Which parts of the body are affected by a gluten-intolerance

People typically shrug off the possibility of a gluten intolerance by saying, “I don’t have any digestive problems.” Little do they know that gluten produces digestive symptoms in only a minority of people. For the majority gluten damages the brain, the heart, the skin, the respiratory tract, or the joints.

Although it won’t be out until spring of 2011, Array 5 will test for which part of the body is the site of inflammation and degeneration caused by gluten intolerance.

Comprehensive immune testing

In the coming months Cyrex will offer comprehensive and accurate immune testing, such as the TH-1 and TH-2 testing described in Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? Cyrex will also unveil my “thyroid dream panel” in spring of 2011.

For more information, visit Cyrex Labs. Tests must be ordered by a licensed health care practitioner.


  • Deb DOlloff January 12, 2011 at 5:47 am

    Does your testing require the person be eating gluten? Will this test be effective on people whom have been gluten free for years and still having issues?

    If it needs to be ordered by a doctor, will our insurance cover your testing?

  • Priscilla January 12, 2011 at 6:39 am

    However, if youve been drinking coffee since you were little, is it still considered an issue with gluten cross-reactivity? Giving up wheat is one thing lol….coffee is like blowing my brains outta my head.

    • Diane April 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

      This reply is very late, so you may have better information by now, but I just wanted to point out that the article only discussed instant coffee. If all coffee were problematic, I think the author would have made that clear.

  • Penny January 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Yikes, I’m with Priscilla on this one, but may have to challenge coffee. I almost can’t stand the thought of that!

    I’ll be watching for the answer to Deb’s question, as well. I’ve been gluten, dairy and all grain free for 3 months and can’t bring myself to eat it for the tests as any cross contamination is brutal.

  • Amy Bearce February 3, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I’d like to repeat Deb’s questions: Does your testing require the person be eating gluten? Will this test be effective on people whom have been gluten free for years and still having issues? If it needs to be ordered by a doctor, will our insurance cover your testing?

    If a person has been off gluten for four years, I am assuming these tests might not work?

    • Elaine April 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Correct, if you have not been eating gluten it will most likely come back negative, if you are gluten intolerant. It takes about a month for the antibodies to develop after exposure.

  • Jessica February 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    As for coffee intolerance or tolerance … just a quick story about my husband and I.

    My husband is an AVID coffee drinker (about since middle school). About three weeks ago we started the GAPS diet, though we had been grain free for several months before that and dairy free for a bit too. He weaned himself off slowly, supplementing with swiss water decaf until he wasn’t drinking coffee at all.

    On the other hand, I have always had a problem with coffee. It makes me feel funny and sick. Rushed too. I can cut it out no problem. Then I tried swiss water decaf and it was a WHOLE other story. It was delicious (!) didn’t make me feel crazed and I could take it or leave it each day.

    My husband is back to drinking his coffee because his body just doesn’t feel right according to him without it. The other night we drank organic, though not swiss water decaf coffee, and we are still both sick from it.

    I guess I would suggest that if your body is reacting poorly after a time of healing with a grain-free, dairy-free diet, try to cut it out and see what happens. Otherwise, some people just respond really well to the antioxidants in coffee. It seems to be a personal (and nutritional) choice and I really feel like some people’s bodies NEED coffee.

    That’s just our story …

  • Virginia Rossuck March 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I am very interested in learning more about these tests as they become more available. I am a Health Kinesiologist and am able to muscle test for the presence of gluten intolerance in my clients. I personally live with Auto Immune Disorders and Gluten Intolerance. Many of my clients have had the traditional tests for Celiac and Gluten Intolerance and have been told they do not have this disorder, however, living gluten free and sometimes dairy, soy, peanut free has eliminated the symptoms they experienced. Please keep me informed about the availability of these tests and the broader information gained through this research. Thank you!

  • Sara March 3, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I am very thankful for this newsletter that indicated that coffee may trigger a gluten response. I stopped having palpitations/ectopic beats while I was doing the elimination diet, but they came back shortly thereafter when I reintroduced coffee (organic decaf) even though I was still avoiding gluten and dairy. I couldn’t find a correlation between the palpitations to possible gluten/dairy cross-contamination, but now that they have gone away again after stopping drinking coffee, I think that was the culprit. This is unfortunate since I enjoy coffee, but it is so much better than having palpitations & ectopic beats!

    • Nia November 20, 2014 at 2:14 am

      Sara, I think palpitations from coffee can be an adrenal issue. I’d look into getting cortisol levels checked.

  • Michael Hines March 12, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the informative post! Really thorough and makes you realize how gluten can have an affect on us!

    Although I am more sceptic now! Is that a good or paranoid thing?

    This is still an eye opener for many people and I thank you for that.

    I will be back for more of your posts.

    Take care


    • Edson August 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      This video is great as it shows that you can use dairy and gluten or use for suistbtution of dairy and gluten. Thanks for sharing this because it is very helpful in creating different batches of cookies for different people.

  • Christina Cosgrove March 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

    The idea of having to deal with coffee totally flips my life upside down.. i’d give up everything else.. i can’t even imagine.. i even almost had a panic attack last night thinking that i will be part of the 50% that’s intollarent to it! I can’t even imagine.. my whole house is decorated in coffee cups etc.. and it’s not always about the caffiene.. i just love the “coffee” culture! I wish there was more information about this.. what would happen if i DIDN’T give it up?

  • vivian kohn March 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I would like to know what the thyroid dream panel consists of and how I can go about getting it. Thank you

    • Jencarlos March 14, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Hi there! I understand this is sort of off-topic but I neeedd to ask. Does managing a well-established blog like yours require a large amount of work? I’m completely new to writing a blog but I do write in my journal every day. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  • Ben Galyardt March 25, 2011 at 4:46 am

    As sad as the thought of giving up Coffee is, if the body is having a cross reactivity to it, the same pathways will be triggered as if one was eating gluten. Same with chocolate, etc. Probably not that common, but the big part of the cross reactivity test is that it looks at all the different grains, even GF grains. I run this test on patients that have gotten perhaps 75% better without gluten, but still have some issues they can’t figure out.

  • Sandra Mannelli April 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    What about switching t Teecino? You brew it like coffee and it tastes pretty good.

    • Diane April 9, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Unfortunately, Teechino is not gluten-free. It contains barley. I discovered this to my sorrow shortly after going gluten-free. I really like Teechino!

      • Diane December 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

        Whoops…upon further investigation, it turned out that Teechino IS gluten-free. Don’t ask me how they do it, but it’s clearly labeled as such on the package and I drink it occasionally.

  • Monica April 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    If it needs to be ordered by a doctor, will our insurance cover your testing? How do I go about asking my Dr. to order the test

  • Carolyn April 30, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    After much consideration by my ND we decided to do the Array 4 test since Im already gluten free and I have Hashimoto’s. In Dr. Kharrazian’s Thyroid book, he explains all autoimmune thyroid patients should be gluten free since the protein gliadin looks identical to the thyroid gland protein, so when gluten is consumed the inflammation response is enhanced that much more…what also blew my mind was that he reports even after one exposure to gluten a patient reported symtoms of a gluten intolerance reaction for up to 6 months!

    I received my results 2 weeks later from Cyrex Labs…my cross reactions were off the charts for dairy, chocolate, ALL gluten free grains including: hemp,millet,amaranth,and oats being the highest reactivity, and on a lesser scale: sorghum, tapioca, rice, potato, and corn…the only things that came back “normal” or “ok” for me to consume was yeast and coffee! I was so happy I could still do wine:)
    As for the “lessor reactions”, my ND reccommended I do a full elimination of all grains, dairy, chocolate etc…heal my gut (as in, give it time for the inflammation response to go down) for like 2-3 weeks, and then consider rotating the less reactive grains in my diet, so I can at least eat something! I feel fine all in all, the only thing I have noticed over the course of 15 years (Im 31) is that I have always been anemic and had bouts of low energy from time to time…I did some research and found links between thyroid issues, celiacs ,and anemia. Eliminating gluten has elevated my iron levels quite a bit and my thyroid has been easier to stabalize.

    On a seperate note to all who are consuming “gluten free” already made breads, crackers, pizza crusts etc…check out the ingredients…just because its gluten free does not mean its good for you!!! there is way to much crap to stabalize all the non glutenous grains, it makes me extremely gassy:(( so I bought a dehydrator and make my own veggie crackers:)…so much better making your own food, my body def feels it= happy!

    Thanks for letting me share my interesting experience!

  • Neroli Bell May 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Does your testing include testing for the lectin component of wheat protein?

  • PJ June 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I contacted Cyrex Labs and the
    Array 3 – Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity & Autoimmunity test costs $325.
    Would insurance pay for this if my doctor orders it?

  • Rakhima Rogers August 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve read the questions , but I could not see the answers. Could you please
    help me to find them.
    Thank you,

    Rakhima Rogers

  • Kellie dickinson September 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I have taken the Cyrex test and found that I am sensitive to the oil on coffee beans (not the caffeine). I had already replaced coffee with a drink I found at Costco called zip fizz, which has caffeine from another source that’s not from coffee when I took this test. And though I do miss the whole “coffee culture” I don’t miss how crummy I used to feel before I began following the autoimmune / adrenal repair way of eating. Nothing can entice me back to those days of feeling like I was 80 years old (I’m only in my 40s!) no dairy, no grains, no sugars, and for me, no beef or lamb. Additionally, I found out that am severly reactive to quinoa and tapioca (cassava root), which is used in nearly every “gluten free” product out there. I noticed a tremendous improvement in energy, mental clarity, weight loss, etc. when I stopped eating iodine-rich foods like kale, spinach, and broccoli. I encourage you to do it! I have my life back!

  • jami peters September 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Rakhima- you need to go to the cyrex website for some of the answers. Haven’t found the answer for being GF before testing though. Hope this helps. I am seeing my MD tomorrow and am going to request these tests.

  • Elaine September 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I have heard you need to expose yourself to the foods before the test. One doctor told me to eat one of the bars Garden of Life makes because almost every ingredient on the test is in the bar. But call the lab to double check.

  • Camille Pridgen September 14, 2011 at 1:34 am

    I have dermatitis herpetiformis. I also have the following: blood IgG – half of normal, IgA, slightly low, IgM double normal with an IgM kappa monoclonal spike. Stool IgA low but gluten antibodies in mid-range even though I have been on a gluten free diet for years. Could the IgM kappa monoclonal spike be the result of cross-reactivity from gluten antibodies? What cross-reactivity could be causing the stool gluten antibodies? What interferences could cause a false positive in stool testing? Where can I find out more about this? Thanks,

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  • Idm Download September 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your site and detailed information you offer. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • Mimi B. October 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    OMG, OMG, OMG!! I really want to get this Cyrex Labs Array 4 test done! Celiac and Hashimoto’s came back negative, but I also have severe reactions to gluten and other grains, as Dr. K says, gluten sensitivity and intolerance tests are only 30% accurate. I am hypothyroid with elevated TSH which has gotten worse after supplementing with iodine. (Only one drop of Lugol’s 5% 12.5 mgs/day) I noticed other benefits, so it is sad to have to stop. I read elsewhere that when supplementing, it can be normal for TSH to go up for a time being. This is all so confusing, will keep everyone posted!

  • Neha December 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I am newly diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Got hypothyroidism also. Do now have high TSH but my Doc says its not in the functional range. I am not taking any hormone replacement for thyroid. Just started with my gluten free diet.

    I have read so many things people can have reaction too. Like gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, even rice, quinoa, tapioca. So now the question is if these all should be avoided what can I eat ? Is there anything left which can be eaten on regular basis.

    Moreover should I prepare all my food on my own. Because most of things we buy from outside will have some of the reactive food.

    Is there any full proof diet plan for a vegan person with autoimmune disease.

  • Ken June 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Is this test better than this Amazing Gluten Test? (I have heard that Saliva may not be accurate)

  • Naj April 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

    haven’t been feeling well so went to visit my and he run some test and said that had a bacteria infection in my stomach been on medication for four weeks since then and i have been feeling great so thought to my what if am not gluten intolerant and it was the bacteria infection that caused the leaky gut so went to back to the doctor and arranged for another blood test which was Array 2 just to be 100% sure if am gluten intolerance and guess wat?? the result was negative and as much as i would like to jump with joy i find it so hard to believe it, could be because i was gluten free for years that the test came negative or is it the bacteria that was causing the problem? plz HELP!! THANKS

    • Elaine April 28, 2013 at 10:39 am

      The test will come back negative if you have not been eating gluten. Unfortunately there is some confusion around this. It takes about a month for antibodies to develop. Some say to eat a bite of the food you want to test every day for a week, then wait a month to test. But if you already know you are gluten intolerant don’t bother. This is more for the food sensitivity panel.

      • Jennifer December 21, 2013 at 11:02 am


        I’m asking you, because it looks like you know what’s going on here and I’m new to all this. I’ve given up gluten and am in the process of giving up all grains. How do you know what Cyrex lab test to choose? I went there and none specifically says anything about Thyroid. I’ve learned I have Hashimotos. I’m concerned about the T1 or T2 dominant thing. For example, I have green tea every day, I even use the more concentrated, Matcha tea. I also drink coffee.
        Is there one lab test that includes the thyroid dominant things and the food sensitivities? I have to tell my Doctor what I want.
        Thanks! Jen

        • Dr. Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS, MNeuroSci December 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm

          Hi, a popular test to start off with is the Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity. This will let you know what foods you are reacting to that you have eaten in the last few months. But you can get similar results doing the elimination/provocation diet. They do not have the TH1/Th2 test yet although my understanding is they will.

          • bart January 31, 2015 at 4:22 pm

            Does it mean that it is possible that one having Hashimoto can reintroduce eggs, diary or nuts if test comes negative? From the book I understand that gluten must be removed forever, but what about other foods I mentioned or rice?

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